Asparagus cures cancer?

A skeptical look at medical practices

Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #1  Postby vanderpoel » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:52 pm

I donʻt know why my friend thinks of sending me this letter about cancer,
because I donʻt have cancer, will never have it and am not interested in the subject at all. She just thinks I should post it so it can be debunked.
Then I googled the web and found more than 42000 mentions related to this letter. However BS it may be, I couldnʻt find anyone trying to sell it
as a cure, so WTF, just donʻt blame me if it cures your cancer.
Or if it doesnʻt. Damn, now Iʻm wondering if I should have been a doctor
or a scientist. Or an asparagus grower?

Asparagus
Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a photocopied copy of an article, entitled, `Asparagus for cancer' printed in Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me:

"I am a biochemist, and have specialised in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project, and we have accumulated a number of favourable case histories. Here are a few examples.

Case No. 1, man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.

Case No. 2, a successful businessman 68 years old who suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he went on asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumour had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, a man who had lung cancer. On March 5th 1971 he was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August, x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is back at his regular business routine.

Case No. 4, a woman who was troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She finally developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by a skin specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after starting on asparagus, her skin specialist said that her skin looked fine and no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus.

I was not surprised at this result, as `The elements of materia medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.

For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as fresh. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives. Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.

As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent'. Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold. For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups.

The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specialises in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink. As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.

Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normaliser. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic. In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good." It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #2  Postby JJM » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:23 pm

My cousin sent me that information, and this was my reply:

Everything about the information you sent me shouts “QUACK” that can be heard all the way to Canarsi [New York].  

Simple, common sense tells us that this claim for asparagus is nonsense: the idea was published 30 years ago, and it would have taken the world by storm if there were anything to it.  Of course, proponents will argue that “The Cancer Industry” has squelched it; but you must ask “Why don’t doctors use it on themselves, rather than suffer and die like everyone else?”  It reminds me of a friend who used to build and race stock cars (and win).  I asked him if a certain device (from JC Whitney) would increase the power of my car and he replied “I have never heard of it; but, if it worked, I would have.”  

Then we have to look at the evidence offered, and the source.  The evidence is four ‘cases’ (anecdotes).  The stories are not sufficient to evaluate them; but, humans (and our diseases) are so variable that hundreds of subjects in a properly-done, scientific study are needed to separate real effects from chance (and mistaken observations); so the evidence is so weak as to be useless.  

The weakness of the evidence explains why the report was not accepted for publication in a legitimate journal.  The Cancer News Journal is not available through the National Library of Medicine, which is a bad sign.  When I looked it up OnLine, it was obviously written by, and for, promoters of quackery.  That would include the author of the 1979 paper.  RR Vensal is a dentist, and has doubtful qualifications to study the types of cancer in the anecdotes.  In addition, he has no publications, at all (let alone concerning cancer), in genuine, medical literature.  Clinical research is no place for amateurs.  

Finally, I searched several general, medical, and cancer-specific, databases and there is no indication of any clinical evidence for preventing or treating cancer with an asparagus puree.  I can confidently say that the asparagus report is bogus.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #3  Postby Chachacha » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:27 pm

Asparagus makes your pee smell funny.

Thanks from:
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #4  Postby vanderpoel » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:08 pm

Chachacha wrote:Asparagus makes your pee smell funny.

So you read the letter then?
JJM, I completely agree. We would have seen a drastic drop off
in cancer rates and the price of asparagus rise.
Now if we can only convince Cha to get off those cans?  :shock:
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #5  Postby brauneyz » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:10 pm

Chachacha wrote:Asparagus makes your pee smell funny.

My first thought exactly.  And we wonder why we girls aren't taken seriously here.   :wink:

We still have to hear from Landrew and Mater (who has been suspiciously quiet lately) to have all the usual suspects on board for what promises to be another rousing discussion.   :P

JJ, I swear, you must have an alert set on your PC for a new posting in 'Healthcare' - you are so gosh darn quick.   :D
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #6  Postby Chachacha » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:29 pm

brauneyz wrote:
Chachacha wrote:Asparagus makes your pee smell funny.

My first thought exactly.  And we wonder why we girls aren't taken seriously here.   :wink:  


:lol:

Hey!  At least it was factual!!!!  

:lol:
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #7  Postby Flash » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:24 am

Asparagus a cure for cancer? Neh. You just turn green. Drinking your own urine on the other hand cures everything Try it. :lol:
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #8  Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:13 am

Flash wrote:Asparagus a cure for cancer? Neh. You just turn green. Drinking your own urine on the other hand cures everything Try it. :lol:


Now that's not true.  Apparently, according to Pravda.(Australian language version)  if you eat 5 tons of asparagas in one sitting you will never have to worry about cancer again.  

Also, I understand that drinking my urine may cure many illnesses but frankly I do not have enough for all of you to drink.  

Chachacha is correct that asparagus makes your peas smell and that why you should serve peas in a separate bowl.  If ever Chachacha offers you peas you should ask for her not to include it on the main course plate.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #9  Postby A-number » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:59 pm

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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #10  Postby Pyrrho » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:52 am

Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was all so simple? But it isn't.

One of the more charming aspects of "eat this and be cured" programs is the tendency to blame the patient's recurring illness on the patient's failure to eat the right things in the right quantities in the right way in the right order on the right days. Oh, and stop all other medical treatments--otherwise the healing miracle of vegetables is negated.

Proper nutrition is very important to the terminal cancer patient, but nutrition isn't a cure.

There isn't one, sorry.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #11  Postby A-number » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:27 pm

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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #12  Postby Pyrrho » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:14 am

A-number wrote:Hello My hero  :) ,
I agree but how do you explain the fact that some people never get cancer and dangerous diseases no matter what, while all some need to do to catch something is 'snooze'?

Genetics, and different levels of exposure to carcinogens.
when I said welcome quackery I meant clean unprocessed food, exercise, stress managment along with other precautionary measures among which the avoidance of cross contamination for example.
IIf a person can avoid developping such conditions just by eating the right food and observing few common sense rules, doesn't that mean that those very foods are responsible about reinforcing the immune system and what not, and also could be able to reverse conditions especially if those conditions happen to be in their early stages? I personally believe they can.

Well, clean water and clean food are good things, and so is exercise. They may help, and maybe some people go into remission (again, genetics, etc.), but I personally wouldn't rely on diet and exercise alone to heal cancer.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #13  Postby tcl20035 » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:46 am

Asparaginase is a common drug used to treat leukemia (I suppose that's just a coincidence)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparaginase
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #14  Postby rrichar911 » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:24 am

I eat asparagus and I don't have cancer.  

What more proof do you need?   :D


I have no doubt that proper nutrition keeps one on the more healthy side of life.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #15  Postby rrichar911 » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:28 am

tcl20035 wrote:Asparaginase is a common drug used to treat leukemia (I suppose that's just a coincidence)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparaginase



ASparaginase is made from e-coli , and does not appear to have anything to do with asparagus.  ??  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escherichia_coli
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #16  Postby JJM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:18 am

tcl20035 wrote:Asparaginase is a common drug used to treat leukemia (I suppose that's just a coincidence)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparaginase
You suppose correctly.  For it to work, the enzyme is infused or injected, not ingested.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #17  Postby OlegTheBatty » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:21 am

tcl20035 wrote:Asparaginase is the enzyme that produces L-Asparagine, which is the abundantly found in asparagus. These amino acids would occur naturally within a proper diet, but often supplements are needed to accelerate recovery.

No. It breaks down asparagine. From the wiki link above:

The rationale behind asparaginase is that it takes advantage of the fact that ALL leukemic cells are unable to synthesize the non-essential amino acid asparagine, whereas normal cells are able to make their own asparagine; thus leukemic cells require high amount of asparagine. These leukemic cells depend on circulating asparagine. Asparaginase, however, catalyzes the conversion of L-asparagine to aspartic acid and ammonia. This deprives the leukemic cell of circulating asparagine.

Asparagine supplements feed the disease. :nuts:
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #18  Postby tcl20035 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:32 am

Asparagus already contains the necessary enzymes to convert L-asparagine to an aspartic acid.

My initial point was only to suggest that the chemicals naturally found within asparagus may play a role in starving cancerous cells. The links I posted were only to suggest the validity of the connection between asparagus, or at least the chemicals inherent in it and cancer treatment. I am in no way associated with the ACA (Asparagus Consumers of America)
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #19  Postby rrichar911 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:24 am

This does not say anything about asparagus.  ???


[quote]Asparaginase (EC 3.5.1.1) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of asparagine to aspartic acid. Asparaginases are naturally occurring enzymes expressed and produced by microorganisms. Different types of asparaginases can be used for different industrial and pharmaceutical purposes. The most common use of asparaginases is as a processing aid in the manufacture of food[1]. Marketed under the brand names Acrylaway and PreventASe, asparaginases are used to reduce the formation of acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen, in starchy food products such as snacks and biscuits.

A different asparaginase is marketed as a drug under the brand name Elspar for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)[2] and is also used in some mast cell tumor protocols. [3] Unlike other chemotherapy agents, it can be given as an intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous injection without fear of tissue irritation.

It is usually derived from Escherichia coli.[/quote]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparaginase


Escherichia coli

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escherichia_coli
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #20  Postby tcl20035 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:45 am

rrichar911 - I think you are entirely missing the point of what my comment was.

The same chemical process occurs within asparagus as does the derivative, which is Asparaginase. I was in no way suggesting that Asparaginase was in fact asparagus, only that the chemical reaction from enzyme to acid is similar and appears to be a treatment for leukemia. I have nothing to add regarding e-coli.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #21  Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:39 pm

Something we should all bear in mind when discussing cancer is that this is a disease that does not respond in the way we want to good nutrition.

This makes sense when you consider the nature of the disease.   ie.  our own body cells multiplying out of control.   Cancer cells actually require more good nutrients than normal cells.   This is due to their rapid growth rate.  Thus, eating an especially good diet will only accelerate the cancer, since you are then feeding the cancer cells all the nutrients they need.  In theory, eating a lousy diet is more likely to slow cancer growth, though I am not aware of any empirical evidence to this effect.

Anyway, just debunking the oft quoted statement by quacks that improved diet improves outcomes for cancer patients.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #22  Postby fromthehills » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:45 pm

Interesting, Lance, makes sense. I'd like to add that cancer is not just one disease, unless I have my terminology wrong, but I believe there are many forms of cancer, so even if a "cure" or treatment is discovered, it would probably only work for one type of cancer out of many.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #23  Postby rrichar911 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:15 am

tcl20035 wrote:rrichar911 - I think you are entirely missing the point of what my comment was.

The same chemical process occurs within asparagus as does the derivative, which is Asparaginase. I was in no way suggesting that Asparaginase was in fact asparagus, only that the chemical reaction from enzyme to acid is similar and appears to be a treatment for leukemia. I have nothing to add regarding e-coli.


I see, thanks for clarifying.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #24  Postby JJM » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:55 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Something we should all bear in mind when discussing cancer is that this is a disease that does not respond in the way we want to good nutrition.  ...

Anyway, just debunking the oft quoted statement by quacks that improved diet improves outcomes for cancer patients.
Actually, there are quacks who promote austere diets to starve cancer.  It turns out that for the overall health of the patient it is better to be well-nourished.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #25  Postby Gord » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:23 am

JJM wrote:It turns out that for the overall health of the patient it is better to be well-nourished.

Doesn't a limited, near-starvation diet result in longer lifespan, though?
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #26  Postby JJM » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:59 am

Gord wrote:
JJM wrote:It turns out that for the overall health of the patient it is better to be well-nourished.

Doesn't a limited, near-starvation diet result in longer lifespan, though?
No, it only feels longer.   :)  

There may be such evidence for rodents; but no compelling information for humans.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #27  Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:17 am

Thing about our species is that evolution has pushed our lifespan way towards it potential.   We already live a lot longer than other primates.   To push our lifespan even further takes more than a little starvation.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #28  Postby tanmigold » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:36 am

Here are the complete facts about this story  :D
http://www.hoaxorfact.com/Health/asparagus-may-cure-cancer.html
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #29  Postby Red Rooster » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:20 pm

You people seem to be very short on this topic.  Asparagus alone is probably not a cure all for all cancers.  However, once you have determined your Metabolic Type and Blood Type, you can eat a diet of natural herbs and organic foods that compliment your uniqueness (therefore there is no "CURE ALL), you can  have a better quality of life, than that of traditional Surgery, Chemo, and Radiation.  Traditonal therapy deems treatment as a success if you live longer than 5 years!!!  Good Grief!!!  The real reason why this is an unknown valid treatment is due to BIG PHAMA PROFITS, or lack of profits if it's a natural remedy.  It takes millions (up to 500 million dollars to have studies done to prove a drug's efficacy).  Why would any drug company spend that money of you can grow it yourself?
Poor diets don't starve cancer either, that's how your body began it's toxic state and cancer growing state.  You need a balanced pH of 7.4 in order to keep your immune system healthy - your immune system will attack and kill bad cells, it's when toxic body, or toxic lifestyle exists, so does cancer.  
Striving for overall common sense good health is the best anti-cancer therapy.  Sleep plenty, eat fruits veggies and low amounts of animal protiens, 30 minutes a day of good exercise, and eliminate 95% of all processed or preserved foods, should enable your body to contain the cancer we all have.  You can eat bod things once in a while, after all variety is the spice of life, but overindulgence is a main contributor to cancer... moderation and variety is the key.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #30  Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:52 pm

RR

Statistically, by far the largest cause of cancer is either tobacco or age.   Excluding the smoking, being older is a much greater risk factor than any other.   Good diet advice is excellent for general health but there is, to my knowledge, no solid empirical evidence to say any special diet reduces chances of cancer.   We all know the importance of a varied and balanced diet.   But if you are already eating sensibly, changing your diet to some silly all herb, or whatever else, diet is not going to reduce your chances of getting cancer.
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Re: Asparagus cures cancer?

Post #31  Postby Major Malfunction » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:32 am

tanmigold wrote:Here are the complete facts about this story  :D
http://www.hoaxorfact.com/Health/asparagus-may-cure-cancer.html

Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer.

I too have sought asparagus, but so far all I have to show for my efforts are some grainy photos of a stalk and a plaster cast of a leaf.
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